MidWest WeirdFest— a cinematic celebration of all things fantastic, frightening, paranormal, and just plain weird — has announced its first programming wave for 2020. The fourth annual installment of the festival takes place March 6–8, 2020 at the Micon Downtown Cinema in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
“MidWest WeirdFest is back with the type of cutting edge genre, paranormal, and underground cinema that our regular attendees have come to expect, and that first-time fest-goers are going to adore,” said festival founder and programming director Dean Bertram. “We are delighted to announce this year’s first wave of feature programming. From murderous puppets and ghostly encounters, through legendary beasties and UFOs, to Lovecraftian nightmares and serial killers, the festival’s 2020 program is loaded with weirdness — some of it real, some of it imagined, and much of it from that mysterious twilight territory that lays in between.”
The first seven feature films announced follow. I saw Puppet Killer as part of Canada’s Blood in the Snow fest last November, and you can read my review here. Also, director Seth Breedlove and his Small Town Monsters group have proven themselves time and again as the best cryptozoology and high strangeness documentary filmmakers going today, so On the Trail of UFOs should be terrific. I also saw The Soul Conductor without the benefit of English subtitles at South Korea’s Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, and the visuals and storyline were intriguing enough to warrant a recommendation. Each of these seven films should be great!
Directors: Joshua Land and Victor Fink
Xander is a witch whose abuse of black magic has led him to disaster after disaster. After trying to go clean of witchcraft, Xander befriends Roland, a young loner. But he can’t seem to resist sliding back into his old witchy ways, as he begins to help Roland with bullies, girlfriends, and other teenage atrocities. A bloody fun horror flick that’s sure to bewitch genre cinephiles.
The Fear of Looking Up
Director: Konstantinos Koutsoliotas
While chasing a serial killer inspired by the god of sleep, a cop’s life is overturned by the death of her lover. Looming monsters and the need for revenge cloud the border between her nightmares and reality, in this atmospheric and hypnotizing descent into Lovecraftian madness and terror.
On the Trail of UFOs
Director: Seth Breedlove
From MidWest WeirdFest alumni filmmaker Seth Breedlove (Momo: The Missouri Monster and On the Trail of Bigfoot) comes the latest Small Town Monsters documentary. With host Shannon LeGro, On the Trail of UFOs takes viewers from the gates of Area 51 itself, to the snow-capped White Mountains of New Hampshire. Filmed in several states across the country, no stone was left unturned in putting together the most comprehensive look at the subject ever produced.
Director: Lisa Ovies
While celebrating Christmas at a cabin in the woods, a group of high school students are stalked by a psychotic killer obsessed with horror movie icons. This laugh-out-loud horror comedy is overflowing with clever homages to the genre, and serves up a perfect mix of gore and gags.
Return to Wildcat Mountain: Wisconsin’s Black Panther Nexus
Directors: Linda Godfrey and Nathan Godfrey
Strangely, in some parts of North America, black-furred big cats make up over half the eyewitness reports of mountain lions, but zoologists say black pumas don’t exist. If that’s true, then exactly what are these ebony felines? Might one small central Wisconsin town hold a clue to this growing mystery? The directorial debut of one of the world’s leading writers and investigators of the weird: Linda Godfrey (Weird Wisconsin, Monsters Among Us, and I Know What I Saw).
The Soul Conductor
Director: Ilya Maksimov
Katya is a disaffected and gloomy young woman. But she is endowed with a mystical gift: she is a conduit between the world of the dead and the world of the quick, and helps earthbound souls to regain peace. But her already weird world spirals even further out of control when a demonic serial killer targets both her and her twin sister. A beautiful and creepy supernatural thriller, loaded with twists and frights that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end credits roll.
Directors: Dane Mainella, Jay Jadick, and Benjamin R Davis
Two men from rural Western Pennsylvania embark on a quest to track down the legendary monster Bigfoot. They will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the great American myth, even as their journey leads them ever deeper into the mind of the beast itself. Part mumblecore, part early Wes Anderson, part psychedelic trip down the rabbit-hole of Sasquatch belief, Squatchmore delivers the weird like few others.
Discounted festival passes are now on sale here. Individual tickets to each film will go on sale closer to the festival; both on the fest’s website and directly from the Micon Downtown Cinema in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Full program details and filmmaker guests will be revealed in the coming weeks.